At Carrick we strongly believe in employing a truly client-centred business approach, focused to provide the best possible service to each client. But what does this mean to you?
Financial service goes beyond offering a range of wealth management services, products and expert advice to foster economic growth. The service part is where one advisor or firm will stand out from another. When selecting a financial advisory firm to manage your wealth and investments, you should ask yourself: what do they really offer? How can they help me? What are their unique strengths? Does their core business philosophy resonate with me? Are they really offering me five-star service? Here’s what you should expect from a five-star service experience:
Your interests come first
As with any important role, financial advisors deserve to be compensated. However, if an advisor acts as a fiduciary, they are legally obligated to place your interests ahead of their own when giving advice. Your advisor should make recommendations based on what you need, not based on how much they may or may not be compensated. When we ask ourselves the question of “why are we in business”, Carrick believes the answer is quite simple: we are in the business of helping our clients to be financially organised, to achieve the best possible investment outcomes and to realise their financial life goals.
Ask and listen
In order to help build your road to future wealth, your financial advisor needs to analyse your situation by gathering as much information as possible about your personal and financial circumstances. Key questions that your advisor should ask include where you plan to retire, what life events you are planning for (such as your children’s education, your retirement, potential emigration), your current cost of living, your investment experience, and your personal and financial goals and objectives. By truly listening, they will be able to understand, prioritise and ultimately help you achieve your goals.
Taking into account markets and products, diversification and jurisdictions, the choices regarding different asset classes, and global access and networks, they will then be able to draft a plan on; which geographical jurisdictions are best suited for your requirements; what your hard currency exposure should be; the most tax-efficient structuring of your portfolio; and the timing and execution of your long-term financial plans.
Provide credible information and education
The reason we consult financial advisors and wealth managers is because most of us don’t have the time or desire to understand all the jargon, products and legalities. Your FA is there to help you navigate the financial world and provide you with clarity on the reasoning behind their recommendations. In addition to explaining how their plan meets your investment goals, the advisor should also explain how the investment strategy and products align with your short- and long-term life and financial goals, as well as the benefits, risks, features and fees. Providing holistic guidance serves to build client confidence, understanding and loyalty.
Create realistic and achievable goals
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to financial planning. Each one of us has different goals and needs. Your advisor should work through your goals with you to provide you with relevant feedback, insight and advice: What is most important right now? Are your goals achievable? Do you have unrealistic expectations? A good advisor will listen and give advice that you need to hear – it may not always be what you want to hear.
A responsive, attentive relationship
There is no set answer to how often your advisor should communicate with you, but a good financial advisor will always know when they need to speak to you, over and above your quarterly or annual updates, and should constantly be monitoring your portfolio to ensure proactive steps are taken to adapt to changing circumstances and conditions. It is also, however, the client’s duty to notify their advisor of any changes in their financial situation. Our strongest relationships are created when our advisors become the client’s confidents with respect to the majority of their financial decisions. Carrick adds so much value across many fronts – for example, introducing clients to each other across our network that help their businesses grow.
“However, as with all things in life, there are never 100% guarantees,” says Brad Bendall, Carrick Group Sales Director. “Financial advisories do not control the markets, or the political and economic fluctuations and volatility in the world. What your financial advisor can and should do for you, is not unlike when we seek assistance from a medical practitioner to secure our long-term health: carefully listening to you, checking and analysing, and planning and implementing the best course of action to achieve your goals. That will minimise confusion and uncertainty and produce the best possible outcomes for the future. But it all comes back to the primary element, namely client-centred service. Listening and understanding to what you want, and then constructing together with you, the best possible plan.”
As leaders in wealth and capital management, Carrick is always striving to improve the experience of our clients while laying down new benchmarks of service excellence for the financial planning industry.